County transportation officials on Wednesday allotted $16.5 million for the first section of the long-awaited extension of Clinton Keith Road east of Whitewood Road in Murrieta to Winchester Road in French Valley.
It was among 33 projects countywide approved for a total of $115 million during a meeting of the Riverside County Transportation Commission, according to a news release.
The Clinton Keith project will be led by the Riverside County Transportation Department, which indicated in its application to RCTC that plans are to break ground in September, according to John Standiford, deputy executive director for RCTC.
“What they are looking to do here is to widen the section from Whitewood Road to Trois Valley Street by constructing a three-lane section in that part,” Standiford told Patch.
That would connect Clinton Keith to Leon Road in Spencer’s Crossing for the time being, with future Riverside County Transportation Department plans of extending Clinton Keith through to Highway 79.
RCTC is awarding the funding for this first part of the project with monies from the Measure A sales tax program, approved by voters in western Riverside County in 2009.
“This truly shows the value of the Measure A program,” said RCTC Chair Marion Ashley, a county supervisor. Every part of the county is receiving funding that will improve mobility and create needed jobs.”
The Commission plans to budget the $16.5 million for the Clinton Keith project over the next two fiscal years, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016, to accommodate cash flow.
Another large project for southwest Riverside County, the improvement of the interchange at Interstate 215 and Newport Road in Menifee, was also allotted funding in the amount of $14.6 million.
In addition to Wednesday’s funding allocation, RCTC previously awarded $10 million in state transportation funding for the I-15/French Valley Parkway in Temecula last October.
“If projects are ready, and we have the funding, we’re going to get them built as quickly as possible,” Ashley said.
The funding decision comes after local jurisdictions were invited to apply for funding in September. A total of 55 projects were submitted requesting a total of $282 million in funding, according to Standiford.
“It was highly competitive,” Standiford said.
The Technical Advisory Committee consisting of public works professionals from jurisdictions around the county evaluated the proposals and made the comprehensive recommendations for funding to the Commission.
On Wednesday, the Commission ratified the recommendations with a unanimous vote.